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Degenerate me!

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Dec. 28th, 2015 | 12:26 pm

Originally published at Megan Lindholm. You can comment here or there.

My goodness, it’s dusty in here. I haven’t done a post here in a long, long time.

So. Well. I’m facing another new year with Robin Hobb hogging the keyboard and the writing time. I do hope I’ll find a bit of space for at least a few short stories and novellas in 2016. There’s a character and a setting that trapped in my brain, and neither one of us will be happy until she gets out.

In the mean time, I am dealing with the aging process. Not gracefully, I admit, but dealing with it. It’s more than looking at Christmas snapshots of my siblings and wondering how they suddenly got so old! And gray! And then checking my own silvering locks in the mirror.

It’s more than declining night vision, which is far more annoying and inconvenient than you might think. Friends in town and an invitation to dinner. Oh, sorry, can’t. Have to be home before nightfall if I’m driving. Parties at a local convention. No, no, I’m afraid that sundown is at 4:20, so I’d best be on the road by 3 PM. Or drag along someone who is willing to pick me up in the morning, stay all day and then drive me all the way home that night.

But the worst is the grinding realization that some parts of me are just wearing out. Not only my eyes. Hips and knees. Degenerative arthritis they call it, or as Dr. Attig explained it to me, ‘ordinary wear and tear on your body.’ Meaning that I’ve just worn out some of the bendy parts. Hips and knees, well, those can be replaced, though I’m thankful I’m not near that yet.

Ah but the typity finger thingys? The fingers that have been relentlessly pressing down keys for well over forty years now on a daily basis? I haven’t heard of finger joint replacements. And that, if you’ll pardon the pun, is where the rub is. It’s bad enough that I have to call Chase, the new assistant, into the office kitchens to peel the foil off the top of the coffee creamer for me. Bad enough that I have to request pill bottles that don’t have child proof caps. I can no longer grip tight enough to tug open a bag of chips. I have to use a tool to weed my garden now. And hand snippers for pruning the trees are painful to use. But the worst, the very worst, is my space bar thumbs. ‘E’ may be the most common letter in the English language, but there is a space between every two words. And my long ago training as a typist means that I reflexively still hit the space bar twice at the end of every sentence. Like that. Thud, thud.

Years ago, I tried speech to text software. It was pretty good. Great for email. But I couldn’t write with it. It wasn’t even that I tend to ‘do the voices’ if I read aloud. It is something about the wiring in my brain, I think. Story comes from my brain and out my fingers. It does not divert to my mouth. I sit and ‘um’ and ‘er’ and the software faithfully records each sound. Halting words come out of my mouth, but it’s not my story telling voice. And as I doggedly pushed on, my fingers would creep toward the keyboard. Just to fix that little mistake. Just to insert that comma. Maybe to change that word. And soon I was typing away again.

So what is the solution. Simple. I keep on typing!

Best wishes to any who may chance upon this rather strange entry as we stagger toward 2016.


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